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For the Sake of Strangers-Poem and Music

For the Sake of Strangers by Dorianne Laux No matter what the grief, its weight, we are obliged to carry it. We rise and gather momentum, the dull strength that pushes us through crowds. And then the young boy gives me directions so avidly. A woman holds the glass door open, waits patiently for my […]

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Poem-Mary Oliver-The Hermit Crab

The Hermit Crab Mary Oliver Once I looked inside … the darkness ……of a shell folded like a pastry ………and there was a fancy face— or almost a face— …it turned away ……and frisked up its brawny forearms ………so quickly against the light …and my looking in ……I scarcely had time to see it, ………gleaming […]

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A Buddhist Mantra based on the Prayer of St. Francis

Here is a mantra I often work with during the day. It’s an adaptation I made of the much-loved Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. (St. Francis is my favorite Christian saint, among other things, because of his love of animals, and especially birds!  See: The Compassion of the Swans) In Buddhism, working with a […]

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A Blessing-Beyond the Face of Fear-Poem and Music

blessing the boats (at St. Mary’s) may the tide that is entering even now the lip of our understanding carry you out beyond the face of fear may you kiss the wind then turn from it certain that it will love your back      may you open your eyes to water water waving forever […]

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Thich Nhat Hanh on Healing the Wounded Child in Us

From the great heart of the Buddha, and from the great heart of Thich Nhat Hanh, to the wounded child in each of us: “In our childhood we may have been through stages of great difficulties. We have been wounded, we have had traumas and we generally do not want to remember those stages of […]

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Dissatisfaction with Life-the Start of Discovery

The Buddha is often quoted as saying he taught one thing: “I teach suffering and the end of suffering.” Sounds kind of limiting and simplistic, no? Where’s the joy and liberation in that? Since the First Noble Truth is the truth of suffering, and since this insight is so often misunderstood by non-Buddhists, and even […]

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“I Thank You” – e.e. cummings – Poem and Music

This my favorite e.e. cummings poem.  Though it’s been a friend for over 40 years now, it still makes my heart soar, “which is natural which is infinite which is yes!” (If you are curious as to why a “Buddhst” blog would have posts with references to God in them, you might want to take […]

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Kabir – “The Sound” – Poem and Music

The Sound by Kabir The flute of the interior is played whether we hear it or not, What we mean by “love” is its sounding coming in. When love hits the farthest edge of excess, it reaches a wisdom. And the fragrance of that knowledge! It penetrates our thick bodies, it goes through walls— Its […]

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Engaged Buddhism-How to Help with the Gulf Oil Disaster

One of the things that attracted me to Thich Nhat Hanh was his embodiment of what he called “engaged Buddhism.” While Buddhist monastic life and retreats have their crucial place, our day-to-day actions and their kamma are what show whether we are developing sila—the moral and ethical awakening this is every bit as important as […]

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Memorial Day 2010-Poem and Song for Young Men Who Died

Here Dead We Lie A. E. Housman Here dead we lie Because we did not choose To live and shame the land From which we sprung. Life, to be sure, Is nothing much to lose, But young men think it is, And we were young. Click here to hear “Let Them In” by John Gorka: […]

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A Poem about the “severe gift” of Grief

I’ve been reading a lot of the poetry of Wendell Berry lately, and this excerpt from his poem “Rising” came to mind this morning as I thought of all those we have lost through war and other tragedies. Although the poem speaks of the burdens we carry in our hearts over loved ones lost, it […]

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Kabir-“The Time Before Death”-Poem and Music

Although my path is not the path of theism, I have greatest respect for those who follow this path with love, integrity, and compassion. My own teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, has always sought an ecumenical approach with various spiritual traditions: See: Thich Nhat Hanh on Buddhism, Mindfulness, and the Holy Spirit Buddha and Christ—Let the […]

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The Buddha’s Last Instruction-Poetry and Music

“Be ye lamps unto yourselves, be a refuge to yourselves. Hold fast to truth as a lamp; hold fast to the truth as a refuge. Look not for a refuge in anyone beside yourselves. And those, who shall be a lamp unto themselves, shall betake themselves to no external refuge, but holding fast to the […]

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